Chris Anderson's up and down season was put on full display in an uneven outing, and we are officially on #hugwatch at Oneok Field.
Seemingly trading good starts for poor ones with regularity, I was anxious to see just which Chris Anderson would show up on Tuesday night. We ended up with a little of both, as Anderson struggled mightily early, righted the ship for a few innings, before succumbing to fatigue in the sixth.
While Anderson showed impressive mid to upper 90's stuff in the early part of the season, everything was a tick or two down last night. His fastball sat 91-93 for the first two innings, but krept up to 93-94 in the third and fourth, touching 95 mph once on my gun. Anderson's typical sink was missing from his fastball, but he still had solid average life on the pitch.
It was command of the fastball that betrayed him. Anderson struggled to locate the pitch all night, missing in all directions. Early in the season, Anderson had issues with the pitch running too much. That wasn't the case Tuesday, as Anderson fought his release point from the stretch for the first few innings.
Anderson settled in in the middle of the outing and looked solid. His slider wasn't as crisp as I've seen it, but he could throw strikes with it. Anderson couldn't find a pitch to put past Cardinal hitters, but got them to hit the fastball and slider into the ground for the most part.
Anderson has been a model of durability in his time with the Dodgers, and some fatigue might be setting in during the hot months of the southwest states. I still think the overall command issue makes him a better candidate for relief, but he does have appeal as a durable workhorse mid-rotation starter if he can locate the fastball with more regularity.
A bizarre substitution occurred in the first inning, with Drillers manager receiving a note from the bat boy during the bottom half of the first inning, which subsequently led to Brandon Trinkwon exiting the game and Kyle Farmer shifting out from behind home plate to third base. Trinkwon would later return to the dugout and showed no signs of injury. From what I hear, the move was in fact related to trade discussion, but not regarding Trinkwon and not regarding an eminent move, but more of a precaution.
Back to Farmer, it was disappointing to not get the chance to evaluate him from behind the plate, but Farmer was impressive at the plate. Kyle has a simple set-up in the box, with a short-to-the-ball line drive stroke and good feel for the barrel. He worked all his contact into both gaps and showed the characteristics to hit for solid average.
Farmer's approach is more contact oriented, so raw power is not a big factor in his game. while he can work the gaps and has enough juice for extra base potential, home run totals will likely be around 8-10 in a full season. His bat isn't the quickest and he can be beaten upstairs, but he makes the most of his ability by getting the barrel in the zone early.
Athletically, Farmer is above average for a catcher, having spent most of his amatuer seasons at shortstop. He runs well for the position and looked quick on his triple to the left field gap. He's built stockily but has fluidity to his movements and his added weight since college doesn't look to effect his range of motion. Farmer looked just fine at third base, as you'd expect from a former shortstop. He has solid arm strength that I would expect carries over to behind the plate.
The most impressive arm strength of the night belonged to Jaime, who hit 98 mph multiple times on my gun. The fastball is fairly straight but it overpowered hitters in his first inning of work. He was more or less around the zone with the pitch, though his overall command was just average. Jaime started to catch too much of the plate with a slightly more diminished fastball late in his second inning, and is likely best suited for 20-25 pitches per appearance.
Jaime had a curveball with big break that swept across the zone and down to the bottom of the left handed batter's box. It's fairly easy to pick up out of hand and could use some firming up to keep the pitch in the zone. He also showed a change-up that was thrown too firm and lacked life.